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Archive for the ‘johannesburg’ Category

The Week In Winners: First Titles For Anderson & Dodig

Posted by gauloises1 on February 7, 2011

Rather a bizarre week in the ATP, wasn’t it? In Johannesburg, weird-looking giant homeboy Kevin Anderson captured the title; he was the fourth seed, but I don’t think anybody quite expected that. Still, with seeds tumbling earlier in the week, Anderson had a good opportunity and made the most of it, beating Adrian Mannarino in the semis and Somdev Devvarman in the final to take his first ATP title at the age of 24.

In Santiago, veteran Tommy Robredo took his tenth title (and his first since this time back in 2009), staging a comeback against Santiago Giraldo who served for the match up 5-2 in the second set before Robredo prevailed in three.

Robredo’s on to Costa do Saiupe next, where he’ll face Fabio Fognini who he defeated in the Santiago semi-finals, not unacrimoniously:

(via FueBuena)

Once I was a little boy
Then Fognini called me a piece of shit*

And rounding off the week in bizarre occurrences, pretty much the only Croatian in the draw who no-one expected to win Zagreb won Zagreb – namely, Ivan Dodig, who backed up consecutive upsets of Ivan Ljubicic and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez by defeating eighth seed and last year’s finalist Michael Berrer for the title.

It’s always a great feel-good story when a journeyman has a good week and takes his first title, particularly when it happens in front of his home crowd. Particularly impressive for Dodig, as he had to contend with the Worst Coitus Interruptus Ever:

Dear oh dear.

*not an actual translation

Posted in ivan dodig, johannesburg, kevin anderson, santiago, titlists, tommy robredo, zagreb | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

The Mystery of Marin & Other 250 Tales.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 5, 2011

Marin didn’t exactly got his revenge on Florian Mayer today. Instead, he notched up his second straight-sets loss to the German in a year, 63 64. I watched, and it was dreadful.

Marin himself said that he made a lot of unforced errors and couldn’t find any rhythm, which is a pretty accurate summation. I’ve been making light and making fun of Marin’s downward spiral for a long time, but I may have just reached the end of my tether. I intend no disrespect to Mayer, who is an incredibly improved player over the last year and making himself dangerous to all sorts of people. But it was the same match that Marin has basically been playing for a year now and I have just had enough.

What is going on?! This is the man who has been tipped for the top since forever, because he’s always looked to be nothing but upside. This is the man who made the quarterfinals of the 2009 US Open by beating Murray, blasted Rafa off the court in Beijing, then went straight on to the semifinals of the Australian Open. He struggled his way through Zagreb afterwards through sheer willpower, and then … what? I don’t know. OK, so he’s had his moments – finals of Munich, semis in Washington, round of sixteen at Roland Garros – but that is the very least he should be accomplishing, and those moments should not be interspersed with losses to the likes of Andreas Seppi and Andreas Haider-Maurer. And I just don’t understand it. He hasn’t had any major injury problems that have been reported in the press, and it’s a fact that he didn’t forget how to serve, hit his forehand or approach the net. He just became unable to do any of them on a consistently successful basis, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Watch him these days and he’s a wreck of a player. Even when he’s winning, he’s still a bundle of nerves and errors being held together by sheer strength of will that’s always liable to shatter. The Marin of two years ago would have at least made a concerted effort to take it to Rafa in Melbourne. And the kind of errors he routinely made against Mayer were simple flinching at the moment of potential victory, like choking on a point-by-point level, and I just … don’t … understand … why!

Personal problems? Injuries or illnesses we don’t know about? Or he’s tired and burnt out after his first major semi-final, so he has a couple of random losses, and that combined with the unprecedented pressure combines to rock his confidence, and he feels like he can’t play freely, and it just gets worse and worse and worse and every time he thinks he’s getting out of it, he starts thinking too much and loses and it gets worse again?

I have literally been wondering about this for a year, and I’m fed up with it. I don’t care what it is any more. I just want him to stop it. Like, now. Because the way he’s going, he’s going to end up Joe McDisappointment and he is far too good for that. He should be a challenger. He should be a contender. He should be in the top ten. He’s good enough. I know he’s good enough. Honestly, I could just grab him and shake him and yell that into his face until he gets that through his divinely-moulded Croatian head.

…. But then, I know about twenty people who want to do the same thing to me. OK, they wouldn’t call my head ‘divinely-moulded’ – or Croatian, come to that – but the general gist would be the same. You’re good! You can do things! Believe! And frankly, it would just make me want to prove them wrong so they would leave me alone. And then I could go to bed. With a bottle of gin. And a pie. All right, I just talked myself out of being angry with Marin. I suppose I’ll just keep hanging on until he starts winning again, however long it takes. And in the meantime, if he wants to join me in bed with a bottle of gin and a pie, I suppose that would be OK as well.

Er … where was I?

Well done Florian Mayer.

There was a bit of a big-name exodus in Zagreb today in fact. Ivan Dodig took out compatriot Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets, and Richard Gasquet retired after seven games (being in the quarterfinals after Arnaud Clement retired against him).

So Michael Berrer is through to the semi-finals, along with Mayer, Dodig and Garcia-Lopez. Well done all round.

Johannesburg semi-finals, meanwhile, are mainly populated by people you’ve sort of heard of, but only sort of. Two locals, Kevin Anderson and Izak Van der Merwe, are through along with Adrian Mannarino, who’s a yummy Frenchman in a fey sort of way, and Somdev Devvarman, who beat another local, Rik de Vroest.

And in Santiago, Interior Minister-meeting defending champion Thomaz Bellucci lost to certified living Ken doll Fabio Fognini in a fairly thrilling three-set match. Fognini led 4-1 before Bellucci fought back to take it to a tiebreak, only to be taken down by Foggers’ superior speed. Fognini will be joined in the semi-finals by compatriot Potito Starace (yes, Potito Starace has had a better week than Marin), who beat Nalbandian’s conqueror, the suddenly-relevant Horacio ‘Onion’ Zeballos. Also hanging around? Hot Santi Giraldo and Vanilla Robredo. So it’s still a bit sexy.

… And that is what has been happening on the ATP tour.

Posted in florian mayer, ivan ljubicic, johannesburg, marin cilic, richard gasquet, santiago, santiago giraldo, somdev devvarman, zagreb | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Mixed Fortunes For Marin.

Posted by gauloises1 on February 3, 2011

Don’t look now – I SAID DON’T LOOK!!! – but Marin won a match in Zagreb, where he’s the two-time defending champion, beating Igor Kunitsyn 76(3) 62. He’ll be facing Florian Mayer in the quarterfinals after Stupid Flowery Girlie Girl beat Radek Stepanek in three sets. Mayer, let us not forget, is the man who dismissed Marin in straight sets at Wimbledon last year before the horrified eyes of yours truly, and he recently beat Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of the Australian Open.

This isn’t going to end well for the Mariners, is what I’m saying.

Marin fared slightly worse in the doubles, as he (somewhat bizarrely) teamed up with sometime(s) coach and tournament director Goran Ivanisevic to lose to Filip Polasek and Ivan Zelenay in straight sets, in a match that was mainly memorable for (i) Goran’s inability to get a serve in the court, (ii) Goran cracking Marin up on changeovers, and (iii) this ridiculous pair of trick shots by Polasek, which you can watch here.

But have some photos anyway, because it’s been scientifically proven that there is nothing more pictorially engrossing than a pair of lanky Croatians playing doubles. Also … Marin actually makes Goran look a little bit fat, or at least three-dimensional.



Elsewhere, Johannesburg has been mainly notable for the exploits of a couple of Canadians; Milos Raonic, who beat second seed Yen-Hsun Lu before losing to Simon Greul in the second round, and Frank Dancevic, currently ranked 234, who knocked out defending champion Feliciano Lopez in a rain-interrupted match that went to 10-8 in a third set tiebreak.

And in Santiago, the hotness of the tournament took a blow when Juan Monaco lost to hermano Maximo Gonzalez in the first round, but is still ensured after David Nalbandian beat Carlos Berlocq in three and Thomaz Bellucci, defending champion, is into the quarterfinals after Rui Machado. As a reward, he got to meet the Chilean Minister of the Interior.

He looks pretty happy about it, I suppose.

Posted in florian mayer, goran ivanisevic, johannesburg, marin cilic, santiago, thomaz bellucci, zagreb | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

The Week Ahead Now: Johannesburg, Santiago, Zagreb

Posted by gauloises1 on February 1, 2011


250; Feliciano Lopez defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Feliciano Lopez, Yen-Hsun Lu, Janko Tipsarevic, Kevin Anderson, Florent Serra, Adrian Mannarino, Rainer Schuettler, Michal Przysieny

Points of interest: Adorable Canadian giant Milos Raonic has qualified and will play second seed Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round. Also, that’s once more than I hoped to have to type “Michal Przysieny” in 2011. Twice now.


250; Thomaz Bellucci defending; draw here.

Top 8 Seeds: David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci, Juan Ignacio Chela, Potito Starace, Tommy Robredo, Fabio Fognini, Santiago Giraldo

Points of interest: David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci. Seriously, the South American clay swing? Sexy. Also, Robredo also got through a potentially challenging first round match with Federico Gil. Is Ex-Disco Tommy a thing again? Can he not be?


a.k.a the Marin Cilic peep show

250; Marin Cilic defending; draw here.

Top 8 seeds: Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubicic, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Richard Gasquet, Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers, Philipp Petzchner, Michael Berrer

Points of interest: Well, it depends. If you think Marin Cilic has to hit rock bottom before he can begin to climb again, then you probably want him to lose in the second round. If you think he has to arrest the slide somewhere, anywhere, then you probably don’t want to watch his second round. He’s got a tough draw to get to the semis; first a  probable match with Igor Kunitsyn, then either the suddenly-scary Florian Mayer (who beat him in straights at Wimbledon last year) or the always-sexy Radek Stepanek. There’s always Richard Gasquet and last year’s finalist Michael Berrer in his half, too. And watch out for Lukas Lacko hanging around the bottom half as well. No insinuation intended.

Also: Marin is playing doubles with Goran. Seriously. Their first match is 6 p.m. local tomorrow.

Posted in ATP week ahead, feliciano lopez, johannesburg, marin cilic, santiago, thomaz bellucci, zagreb | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Welcome Back to the Winners’ Circle

Posted by gauloises1 on February 7, 2010

Feliciano Lopez won his first ATP title since 2004 today when he defeated eighth-seeded Frenchman and maiden tour finalist Stephane Robert 75 61 to take the SA Tennis Open title in Johannesburg.


Posted in feliciano lopez, johannesburg, titlists | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Johannesburg: The ‘Dream’ Final

Posted by gauloises1 on February 7, 2010

Two Spaniards against two Frenchmen; two top seeds against two … not, and naturally, it’s ended up with Stephane Robert and Feliciano Lopez facing off in the Johannesburg final.

This is Stephane Robert, in case you didn’t know. (If you did know, what the hell are you doing reading this blog? Start your own, you know more.)  He cracked the top 100 at the start of this week and now he’s in his first ATP final, beating David Ferrer to do it. Respect. And some puzzlement.

I only checked in intermittently on the Lopez-Monfils match, but whenever I did, Lopez was serving great and completely flummoxing Bambi at net. Pretty much all I can say is ‘well done’. This would incidentally be his second ATP title, the first coming in 2004. It feels like he’s due, doesn’t it?

Singles – Semi-finals
[3] F Lopez (ESP) d [1] G Monfils (FRA) 36 61 76(1)
[8] S Robert (FRA) d [2] D Ferrer (ESP) 75 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
K Beck (SVK) / H Levy (ISR) d S Darcis (BEL) / X Malisse (BEL) 75 46 10-7

Posted in feliciano lopez, gael monfils, johannesburg, stephane robert | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Friday’s OOP: Johannesburg, Zagreb

Posted by gauloises1 on February 5, 2010

Can Marin beat the good doctor? Will my newly-minted crush survive another day in Johannesburg? And is there any chance I will finally remember to post the Santiago OOP when I get up in the morning? Stay tuned for this and more.



Posted in johannesburg, zagreb | Leave a Comment »

New Crush

Posted by gauloises1 on February 4, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen … Dustin Brown, Jamaica’s finest.

He’s 6’5″, 25 years old, and into the quarterfinals of the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg, where he’ll face eighth-seeded Stephane Robert. It’s just his second main draw appearance in an ATP tournament.

As the highest-ranked player to ever emerge from Jamaica, 6’ 5” serve and volleyer Dustin Brown could feel entitled to a little more recognition in his sports-loving homeland. But in a country most famous for being home to the world’s fastest man, Brown accepts that, for now at least, he will fly below the radar.

“Five months ago I’d go to Jamaica and go through customs and it would be a hassle getting into my own country even though I am the No. 1 tennis player from the country,” he said. “If Usain Bolt comes, of course he’s a lot bigger than me, he probably doesn’t have to go through customs at all. Now that my ranking has gone to 140, 150 I have been getting a little more media attention in Jamaica; I have been on the TV once or twice on the news.”

[…] Tall, wiry and sporting dreadlocks, World No. 141 Brown commands attention on the court with his athletic, serve and volley game. And, ironically, the boy from the beach is making his breakout in Johannesburg at elevation, where his big serve pierces the rarefied air. Asked about his speed – a Jamaican trait – Brown replied: “Short distances from the net to the baseline I’m fine, but I don’t know if I would be doing 100m sprints against Usain. That wouldn’t look too good.”

Brown was born in Celle, Germany in 1984 to his Jamaican father Leroy and his German mother Inge and lived in the country until 1996, when he moved to Jamaica. After finishing high school Brown played Futures in Jamaica until 2004, when he moved back to Europe, driving himself to Futures and Challengers in a camper van bought for him by his parents. Brown said that his eight years in Jamaica had a significant impact on his personal and professional development.

“It was good to see a harder side of life. In Germany as a 10 or 11 year old you have a computer, a Gameboy, but in Jamaica…. It was good for me personally, mentally and also for my game to get a little tougher and not to whine about everything, which you tend to do if you get pampered all the time. In Jamaica there was not a lot of pampering.”


Did I mention he’s also gorgeous?!

I want to use his ribs as a xylophone. So much so that the Most Boring Player Party Video of All Time is almost worth watching because he’s in it:

Posted in dustin brown, johannesburg, video | Tagged: | 16 Comments »

Thursday’s Results: Marin, Monfils, Ferru Through

Posted by gauloises1 on February 4, 2010

So one thing that is really making me miss the Australian Open right now? Quality and availability of photos. If the rest of the snappers are anything like the ones I know, they’re still huddled on their sofas getting over jet lag. Fair enough, but come on. The people need photos.

This is about three days old.

Anyway, the week’s action continues to chug along in quite pleasing fashion. In Johannesburg, top seeds Monfils, Ferru and Lopez (your heavy breathing can’t stop him!) are all into the quarterfinals with fairly straightforward wins, as are Newport champion Rajeev Ram and last year’s Chennai finalist, Somdev Devvarman.

In Zagreb, Marin Cilic is yet to show any signs of the post-AO blues, rolling against Jan Hajek and crazy Daniel Koellerer. Unfortunately, he faces Ivo Karlovic next, which is likely to be a bit more tricky. They’re the last Croats standing after Ivan Ljubicic relatively inexplicably lost to Lukas Lacko, meaning the only seed left in the bottom half of the draw is Viktor Troicki after a marathon three-set win for Philipp Petzchner over Benjamin Becker.

Play is still going on in Santiago,  with Gonzo, Granollers, Souza, Martin, Luczak and Schwank into the quarterfinals so far, to be joined by the winners of Pico-Chela (underway as we speak) and Bellucci-Capdeville.


Singles – Second Round
[1] G Monfils (FRA) d J Ouanna (FRA) 64 75
[2] D Ferrer (ESP) d [Q] F Prpic (SWE) 63 64
[7] Y Lu (TPE) d [WC] R Klaasen (RSA) 64 75
S Devvarman (IND) d T Alves (BRA) 64 61

Doubles – Quarter-finals
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) d [2] J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 36 63 9-9 default
[3] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) d P Amritraj (IND) / J Cerretani (USA) 64 76(6)
[WC] R Klaasen (RSA) / I Van Der Merwe (RSA) vs K Beck (SVK) / H Levy (ISR)
S Darcis (BEL) / X Malisse (BEL) d S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA) 36 64 10-8

Doubles – First Round
[WC] R Klaasen (RSA) / I Van Der Merwe (RSA) d [4] J Coetzee (RSA) / R Wassen (NED) 46 62 10-8


Singles – Second Round
[1] F Gonzalez (CHI) d [Q] R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) 64 63
A Martin (ESP) d R Mello (BRA) 63 64
M Granollers (ESP) d L Kubot (POL) 64 62
[Q] J Souza (BRA) d P Riba (ESP) 64 64

Doubles – First Round
[2] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) d [WC] J Aguilar (CHI) / H Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) 61 76(4)
P Starace (ITA) / H Zeballos (ARG) d [3] P Cuevas (URU) / M Granollers (ESP) 62 62
[WC] S Gonzalez (MEX) / N Massu (CHI) d B Dabul (ARG) / P Lorenzi (ITA) 61 64
L Arnold Ker (ARG) / J Monaco (ARG) d O Hernandez (ESP) / N Lapentti (ECU) 63 62
L Friedl (CZE) / D Skoch (CZE) d T Bellucci (BRA) / M Daniel (BRA) 64 76(4)


Singles – Second Round
[1] M Cilic (CRO) d D Koellerer (AUT) 62 61
L Lacko (SVK) d [2] I Ljubicic (CRO) 76(3) 57 76(5)
P Petzschner (GER) d [6] B Becker (GER) 16 76(4) 76(6)
[7] I Karlovic (CRO) d [Q] A Sidorenko (FRA) 76(4) 76(8)
M Berrer (GER) d [WC] P Jelenic (CRO) 64 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) d [1] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 64 64
[3] M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) d M Kohlmann (GER) / A Peya (AUT) 64 62
B Becker (GER) / R Schuettler (GER) d C Kas (GER) / E Korolev (KAZ) 64 60
A Clement (FRA) / O Rochus (BEL) d [4] R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) 63 61

Posted in david ferrer, johannesburg, marin cilic, philipp petzchner, santiago, zagreb | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Wednesday’s OOP: Jo’burg, Zagreb

Posted by gauloises1 on February 3, 2010

Hopefully I will remember to update this post with the Santiago OOP tomorrow …



Posted in johannesburg, zagreb | Leave a Comment »